Christian Democrats pledge to triple funding for electric cars

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25 Aug, 2009 Updated Tue 25 Aug 2009 12:23 CEST
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Hoping to burnish their green credentials ahead of next month's election, Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats have pledged to triple state funding for developing electric cars if they win, the Financial Times Deutschland reported on Tuesday.

"The state must help with investments into research and development of electric cars if they are to advance," said Volker Kauder, the conservatives' parliamentary leader.

At the forefront of this research is work on battery technology, which has so far been the focus of an economic stimulus package of approximately €500 million from the government, but Germany still lags far behind research in Japan and China, according to the report.

"I can envisage a further €1 billion being put towards research into battery technology under a new government," Kauder said.

Merkel's ruling right-left coalition of Christian and Social Democrats announced last week that Berlin aimed to get around one million electronic vehicles onto Germany's streets by 2020. But the opposition and environmental groups criticised the lack of subsidies for the purchase of electric cars, which are significantly more expensive than conventional vehicles.

Despite such criticism, Kauder ruled out the possibility of a subsidised sale programme, such as that suggested by Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel, a member of the centre-left Social Democrats. Under Gabriel’s plan, the state would pay a subsidy of around €5,000 for each electric car.

“The electric car must penetrate the market on its own,” Kauder said.

Kauder instead chastised the failure of German car manufacturers to put real effort into producing electric cars.

“I call on German car manufacturers to correct this, and train specialised workers for electric cars as fast as possible,” he told the paper. “Either way, it will be at least another year until we see electric cars around on our streets.”



2009/08/25 12:23

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